Can we please stop using the term “Christian values?”
In the face of ever-increasing religious and cultural diversity within the United States, many politicians and “regular” folks continue to lament the “loss of the Christian values upon which our nation was founded.” The sad irony of such statements is that many of those same people continuously make decisions and comments which convey values that are decidedly un-Christian. The latest example of this hypocrisy is embodied by the fear and often hateful stereotyping directed towards Syrian refugees.
I get that terrorism is scary and that none of us wants our loved ones to be victims, but when did it become acceptable for followers of Christ to let fear be the deciding factor in how we respond to the world? What’s more, when did it become debatable that God wants us to show love and hospitality to those in need? The Bible in filled with commands from God to care for “aliens,” “strangers,” and “foreigners” (a few examples include Leviticus 19:9-10 and 19:33-34, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Exodus 23:9, and Hebrews 13:2), but my personal favorite is the one I reference in this comic: Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:33-46. If Syrian refugees don’t count as the “strangers” in need that Jesus was talking about, who does?
Folks, we can debate biblical interpretation when it comes to many hot-button issues, but I can’t find one passage in my bible or one example from Jesus’ ministry where it was deemed acceptable for those who claim to follow Christ to turn their backs on others in need. Yes, we can let fear and terror cloud our judgment and make poor decisions based off of prejudice and self-interest, but we cannot do those things and still honestly claim to know and follow and love Jesus.
We have the right to cross our arms and close our hearts if we want, but let’s please stop complaining that outside forces are trying to corrupt or subvert our “Christian values”- we’re doing a perfectly fine job of tossing them aside all by ourselves.